Video Optimization with Danny Dover

by Jonathan Goodman on March 14, 2014

Jonathan Edward Goodman

This is Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Today we are going to talk about video optimization with Danny Dover. Danny is the author of the bestselling book Search Engine Optimization Secrets from Wiley Publishing and spends most of his time checking items off his 150+ item bucket list on LifeListed.com. Before starting his own company, Danny was the Senior SEO Manager at AT&T and the Lead SEO at SEOmoz.org, now known as Moz.

During Danny’s tenure at AT&T, he increased SEO traffic by 92% for one of the company’s primary web properties (YellowPages.com) and created business partnerships that brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. As Lead SEO at SEOmoz, he helped create a platform (mozscape) that is used today to crawl and download the entire Internet. During the same time, he produced video and articles that were read and watched more than a million times.

Danny’s expertise has been cited by Time Magazine, PC World, Smashing Magazine and Seattle Post-Intelligencer and his writings have been translated into Japanese, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, German and Hungarian. He has spoken at numerous colleges and conferences around the world. I really like his website, LifeListed.com, and we’ll get into that. He’s very inspiring and a great individual in this industry. Thank you so much Danny for coming on the show.

Danny: I’m happy to be here, Jonathan. It’s always great to talk to you, so I’m looking forward to this chat.

Jonathan: Great. We’ll get into LifeListed a little later. But let’s get into the heart of the conversation, which is video optimization. You started back when SEOmoz was doing – and I believe are still doing – their Friday videos. Do they still do that?

Danny: They still do that. White Board Fridays happens on Wednesdays.

Jonathan: White Board Fridays happen on Wednesdays? How does that work?

Danny: We film it on Wednesday and we show it on Friday.

Jonathan: Much better than going live, right?

Danny: Right.

Jonathan: And then you transferred your knowledge. You published your book, Search Engine Optimization Secrets. It’s a great book. You published it during the time that I believe Rand Fishkin was working on another book.

Danny: Right.

Jonathan: You also published your book. Your book was really easy to ready, while his book was a technical manual. Still, both were excellent books on the market at that time. Is it still selling well?

Danny: It is actually. It’s always really fun to see the sales numbers come in.

Jonathan: I know that even for my book, it is. Amazon sends you that little check every month and it’s very nice to see that people are still paying attention to your work.

Danny: Yes.

SEOs Trajectory Compared to Online Video

Jonathan: Before the interview, we did a pre-interview about what we’d talk about today. You listed a couple of things that you thought were very critical in this conversation. I’ll just read them and we’ll talk about them as we go along. The first is SEOs trajectory compared to online video. Where does SEO fit within online video? And what do you mean by a trajectory difference?

Image representing Danny Dover as depicted in ... Image via CrunchBase

Danny: SEO is any kind of marketing where you’re targeting organic listings within a search engine. So primarily that is Goggle. Video’s part of that is also generally organic, but you’re working specifically with video providers, which is mostly YouTube, to make sure that your videos rank well on YouTube itself and within organic listings on Goggle. So that’s the framework there. As far as the trajectory part, when I first got started in SEO probably 8 years ago, there was a slow trajectory, or a slow growth, but it was really in the interest of time. Then we saw amazing growth as far as the traffic being driven and the people who started to get interested in it. There was a lot of free traffic use at a high value. Now we’re seeing the exact same trajectory, or something very close to it, with video SEO and with video in general. Video has become a lot easier to produce. This is a great example of what we’re doing right now. And the trajectory, the engagement numbers and the watch numbers are just through the roof and continuing to grow year after year. Whereas SEO obviously worked out to be a great investment for marketers and website owners, video is looking to have the exact same impact.

Jonathan: You also say that SEO has gotten so locked down with all the work that Google is doing between Penguin and Panda that it almost seems free range within video?

Danny: Yeah, that’s exactly right. This past year has been really difficult for SEOs. We’ve lost a lot of data. We’ve had a lot more rules put into place and we’re running into algorithms. It’s harder to have some kind of impact. So video is great because I’m seeing tons of viewer engagement social shares, but without all the problems we’re now having with organic lists within SEO.

Jonathan: We should back up a second. Can you explain to the audience what it means when you say we’ve lost a lot of data?

Danny: Sure. In the past, Google had been providing us a lot of data about searches and about how people were using their search engine and what they were finding. Unfortunately, they have taken that away from us. So the major data source we’ve lost is the Q of referred data. It used to be that we could look at nearly 100% of searches what people were looking for when they went on our website. This is kind of the trade that we’ve made with search engines. They are allowed to crawl our servers and use our content as long as they send us traffic from that and give us information on what people are searching. Unfortunately, they don’t do that anymore. They’ve implemented a new what they’re calling a security measure. I don’t actually agree with it, but they no longer give us the information on what people are searching for unless we decide to pay for it with ads.

Jonathan: With ads or with the enterprise version of Google Analytics, right?

Danny: Right. Although my understanding is that the way they’ve implemented HTTPS, which is the reason behind us not having data, I think even with the enterprise version of Google Analytics, you don’t get that data.

Jonathan: That’s interesting. I always fell on the side of agreeing with Google. We’re kind of getting off track, but we’ll talk about it for a second. When I went to PubCon this last year, we all sat around in a group and talked about different topics. One of those topics was not providing from the Q word data in the Google Analytics. Everyone else in the room felt that this was a slight against SEOs where I agreed with Google that it was an attempt to protect themselves from what they found out was a back door open to the NSA and various organizations that were able to pull their data.

Search Engine Optimization Secrets Search Engine Optimization Secrets (Photo credit: Barry Adams)

Danny: I think that is a valid point. Just a little bit of context there for everybody listening to this and watching this. Google ran into a situation this last year with the NSA, the National Security Agency within the United States, where the NSA was looking at Google’s private networks. They’d gained access to that where they had all their search indexed, which is all the websites they have and most of the data that is being transmitted around those things. So different kinds of ratings, different kinds of algorithms. All that stuff within the network itself was unencrypted, so the NSA had access to that. In the public network, that stuff is all encrypted, so the NSA doesn’t have access to that. Even if they got it, they wouldn’t be able to read it. So the NSA had access to that private information unencrypted. We’re running into a similar situation when they went from unencrypted search, which is different. These are public results anyway. But because it was unencrypted, you used to be able to see what people had been searching for when they came to our website. We could no longer do that because they decided to encrypt it. That’s what the S is in HTTPS. It’s for ‘secure.’ That’s what we’re running into now.

Jonathan: I really appreciate that detail. It’s really critically important for our audience to understand that we still do SEO. It’s just that our hands are tied on the level of data of information that’s available to us.

Danny: It used to be pretty obvious that if you built a certain amount of links, you could quantify pretty accurately how much rankings you’ll be able to increase and what type of traffic that may bring in. Unfortunately today, we can build the same type of link, but we’re not guaranteed the trajectory we gained before.

Jonathan: Are you directing your clients into video? Is that what this whole difference of SEO to video optimization is?

Danny: Yeah, that’s part of it. With my clients, we’re diversified as much as possible. And what we’re seeing a big benefit in today is the social channels. Specially with Facebook we’re been doing really well. A large part of that – and it’s really more a layer than a channel per se – is video. I know for my blog, I drive more traffic, more watches on YouTube than I do through Google to my website itself. Based off of that and based off of these bigger clients that I’m working with, they’re video focused as well. Like with some of our video businesses, going through and looking at the bigger data is where I’m trying to make the strides and that’s where I’m seeing these big benefits that I used to get with SEO.

Jonathan: It’s easily consumable entertainment regardless of whether it’s a boring lecture or it’s a kid rolling his motorbike down the lane, right?

Danny: Exactly. We’ve been taught as little kids that TV is a form of entertainment and video is fun. And now we’re able to express that and use the benefit of people being trained their whole life to believe this and to understand this for our own purchases as marketers.

Jonathan: How do you take that video and optimize so that it’s more understood by the search engines?

Danny: This is one of the most exciting parts about video. The algorithms that are sorting video are actually quite rudimentary, which is very similar to how SEO used to be. The ones I’ve seen on YouTube at least. I do most of my video marketing for YouTube. The reason I do that is because that is where the biggest audience is by far. YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world behind Goggle. Bing is number three I believe. So I put my video efforts on YouTube. Within YouTube, there are only a few things that make a big difference in whether your video is going to rank or not. It’s the basic metadata, so data off the video itself. Specifically the title and the description. The keywords you use in that are very, very important. Those make up most of the relevancy based metrics that are video SEO and ranking of YouTube. Also the file name tends to have a big impact on that. And then the transcriptions. So the words you’re using in the transcription. All this makes sense. We know from reading through lots of Google patents and also just from common sense that it’s much easier for computers to be able to determine relevancy based on text as opposed to video because they can understand it. And there’s been a lot of work put into natural language processing, which is mostly text based.

Jonathan: One of the things that we do here is we’ll run this podcast on Hangout. It immediately goes into YouTube. We then send it for personalized transcription. And once that’s done, we go back into YouTube and feed in that transcription. There’s a major benefit to that, right?

Danny: Yeah, exactly right.

Jonathan: YouTube itself has a transcription tool, but it’s really not that good.

Danny: That’s right. So we want to give them all the hints that we can about our content. And doing human-based transcription is one of the greatest ways that we can do this.

Jonathan: Are you finding when you promote it through Facebook and Twitter when it gains an audience that in itself helps the rankings in the search engine?

Danny Dover & Richard Baxter Danny Dover & Richard Baxter (Photo credit: Dana Lookadoo – Yo! Yo! SEO)

Danny: Yes. In addition to the metadata, which would probably be the most important factor with regard to relevancy, the other part of the equation would be popularity metrics. How popular is this content? How much are people engaging with it? The biggest metric I’m seeing with that are channel subscribers with brand power, which I think is one of the major reasons that Goggle is integrating Google Plus so heavily into YouTube. They want to have these brands, which is very important. Those are doing quite well. Also watch time – how long are people actually watching the video? At least in the last 6 months, watch time has had amazingly high correlation between actual rankings from what I’m seeing to overpowering most of these other popularity metrics. This is watch time again. How long are people actually watching them? The next one is YouTube engagement metrics. It’s exactly like what you’re talking about. This is the likes and thumbs-up and thumbs-down happening on YouTube itself. I’m seeing it indirectly with social shares. Are people sharing this on Facebook? Are people sharing this on Twitter? Is this happening on Goggle Plus? We know that if it’s happening on Goggle Plus. Google has all the access to how popular it is and what the data looks like. We know that when we drive more people to it, we’re going to boost these engagement metrics, so it’s going to be watch time.

Jonathan: Google can’t necessarily see the Facebook engagement and the Twitter engagement. They can obviously see the Google Plus engagement. Is that correct?

Danny: That is correct from what I understand and what Google is saying publicly. I mean I think the technology exists so they could have more information. For example, Goggle runs a free DNS service, which means they would have access to all the URLs and any request that I sent on Facebook itself has at least URLS, not the data that’s being transmitted. So they could access to that. It’s more of a conspiracy theory. But they do not crawl within Facebook. The same with Twitter.

Jonathan: Right. But they understand where the link is coming from? You promote it on Facebook for all these people. So they might not be able to see it when you’re running it on Facebook, but they must kind of understand that there’s been a call to run something from YouTube on Facebook directly, right?

Danny: Absolutely. We can see that within YouTube’s analytics that they provide for us. We can see when something from Facebook or from another social network.

Jonathan: So when you’re talking about the amount of time that it’s watched, if I’m running, say, a 40-minute podcast like this, there is an ad at the beginning and perhaps an ad at the end. Does that get correlated into time watched or what we used to call time-on-site? I guess now we call it time on screen, right?

Danny: Right. If the ad is provided by Goggle through YouTube, then that is not taken into account. But if it’s an ad that you injected within the video itself, that one would count.

Jonathan: Okay. So if I’m going to a video and I see a Goggle ad and I click off of it, there’s no credit given to that ad because I never made it to the video?

Danny: That’s correct. What’s happening there is that any metrics that it gets about you – maybe you clicked the ad, maybe you didn’t – those would be the ad’s metrics, not the video’s metrics.

Jonathan: Are we seeing any correlation between keyword used within the video optimization and correlating it to what Google believes you’re interested in anyway? That panel on the side?

Danny: Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up. We’ve seeing a large correlation there. I know that with my videos, about 50% of views come from other YouTube videos. It’s either the ad that YouTube puts up at the end of videos saying here are related videos or it’s the side panel. We’re not able to see which one it is, but I’m seeing about 50% of my total views are coming from those areas.

The Impact of the Morphing of TV Show Creation on Online Marketing

Jonathan:  The next thing we want to talk about is morphing of TV show creation on online marketing. It sounds like a thesis paper.

Danny: It does, yeah. This is actually one of my favorite subjects of late. We’re seeing a revolution in the way the television business is created right now. It’s really, really exciting. “House of Cards” is a great example where NetFlix, as a distribution channel for the first time, is actually creating the content. They’re doing it with fantastic high-quality actors, fantastic high-quality writing and with fantastic high-quality crews. The production value is very, very high. This is exciting for TV watchers, but it’s also exciting for content creators because we have a lot of access to these tools as well. It’s a lot cheaper to produce something now than it used to be and there’s also a higher standard. People know what to look for, whereas before TV had been kind of a dumb medium. The TV shows I grew up on where all very simplistic with simple storylines. Now people have a new level of creativity as their baseline, so that pushes up the marketers and content creators. But it also sets the stage for us as well so that we’re able to produce content at that level.

Jonathan: I agree with you that the ‘70s and the ‘80s television content was simple. When we look at “Three’s Company,” it’s the same exact scenario every single week. We’ve gotten to a much higher level where we talk about “House of Cards,” “Walking Dead” and all of these great TV shows.

Danny: “Breaking Bad” was one of my favorites.

Jonathan: “Breaking Bad” was revolutionary in definitive storytelling. It comes to the end, that is the end and we’re done. It’s really great stuff. How are you then taking that and saying to a business, okay, we need to create better content?

Danny: You actually worded that quite well for the point I’m trying to make. Now most of the work I do in content creation is storytelling. I call it storytelling. I refer to it and think about it like storytelling. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end of every conversation I’m having and the messaging I’m putting out there. I’m using this old form of communication we’ve been taught from day one as human beings around the campfire that storytelling is a very powerful way to convey information and as people something we put a lot of time into trying to understand and perfect. So I’m just doing the same thing, but as a marketer now.

Jonathan: So you’re really almost making a career move going from SEO to videographer?

Danny: Yeah. I am in that I’m trying to lead my clients in a similar direction. I know that if we make fantastic quality video, we know that we’ll get the engagement and get the sales we want.

Jonathan: That’s really exciting stuff.

YouTube vs. the Online World of Video

Danny: We have a similar situation with YouTube vs. the online world of video with Google as a search engine. There’s absolute domination. The vast majority of video being consumed online is happening on YouTube. I guess the exception might be the shows that are streaming on Netflix and stuff because that takes up a lot of zeros and ones. That’s a lot of the web traffic total. But it’s not exactly happening in the same way that it’s happening on YouTube. So we have one place that we focus all of our energy into optimizing for, which is YouTube. They have a built-in audience, which is great. In my case, about 50% of my traffic is just going to come from YouTube and other related videos. So other people’s content helps push my content forward. And we’re seeing this grow everywhere. Video is now all over the place. I can get it on my phone. I can get it on my iPad. I can get it on my Kindle. I can get it all over the place. And people are consuming it at levels that they never have before.

Jonathan: Interesting. In SEO, as Internet marketers in the recent years, we’ve had a major push for content. Written content. It was guest blogging. It was multiple articles. Sometimes we’re talking about lawyers and doctors and really boring stuff. Really difficult stuff to talk about. Are you saying now that with YouTube, you’re almost hitting a higher mark than the actual Google search engine itself?

Danny: I see it a little bit differently. I think our job as marketers is to always be going for and trying to understand what’s next and aiming for that as opposed to following. What I’m seeing is that YouTube is the thing that is not necessarily the next thing, but already happening now and continuing to grow. So that’s what I’m putting my energy into.

Jonathan: Do you think there’s a possibility for marketing integration to take the data that somebody is watching on YouTube and understand and improve the Google search? Not in terms of placing video in the search but obviously from Google’s side better understanding that individual and the search that they are trying to do. We talk about semantics web here a lot. So the understanding of the individual and the intent of search kind of pulls into the video side where if I understand what you’ve been watching, when you go to YouTube each time to the homepage and you’re seeing more exactly what you want to watch, it can translate then back to the Google search engine for when you do a search on a nondescript item like an apple. This is an example I use all the time. If I’m watching videos about vegetation or being a vegetarian or I’m concerned about the environment and I’ve never watched a video about Apple the company or the iPhone or iPad, that can lend itself for when I go back to the search engine and I do the search for apple. It really understands that I want the informational search on the apple the fruit, not Apple the company.

Danny: Exactly right. We have been focusing on content creation for a long time and we’ve been doing text for a long time. It was great for people, but it was also particularly good for search engines because they can understand text and they can read text quite well compared to other mediums. Now we’re starting to see that with video. People are consuming videos at incredible rates and the search engines are getting much better at understanding what video is and understanding it from a semantic value. So at the same time, semantic web is starting to develop and become a real thing in our lives. Google Now is a great example of this. And so video seems like the next step for all of this, which is the reason I’m focused on it so heavily.

Jonathan: That’s interesting. You mentioned Google now. Do you see a point in time where there’s an integration between Google now and YouTube?

Danny: Well, I think they’re already doing that.

Jonathan: I’m not familiar with Google Now. I don’t have an Android device. You need an Android device in order to have Google Now, right?

Danny: No, actually. There’s an IOS version of it as well.

Jonathan: Okay. I learned something today.

Danny: Yeah. I have it on my iPhone. It will many times show me video results. And it may be because I care so much about video. It’s probably knows based on my search history that I care a lot about video so it chooses to serve me the video results quite frequently. I think this is just going to be an emerging trend. I think they’ll keep sending it to me.

The Video Engagement Problem

Jonathan: Let’s talk about the video engagement problem. What exactly is that?

Danny: That is interesting. We see a lot of a certain kinds of engagement with videos. We see things like the Likes, we see things like adding it to playlist on YouTube. There’s some social shares certainly comments. But many people who have largest following on video, let’s say something on YouTube like Jenna Marbles, who is quite a popular YouTuber, she has difficulty selling actual product. Part of this is because she is a comedian at the Comedy Channel. So people are not watching this to buy. But she has a huge audience. I think she has something like 25 million subscribers who watch most of her videos. If this were a TV show, it would be a major big deal, but it just happens to be one girl who’s running this. However, she is not making the equivalent amount of money from that. Where it sounds like she’s making her money – and this goes for most YouTubers – is the ads that run before and after.

Jonathan: Right.

Danny: So they have an engagement certainly, but it’s not the ideal kind of engagement. The ideal kind of engagement is the kind where people are spending money.

Jonathan: We’re really talking about conversion here, right?

Danny: That’s exactly right.

Jonathan: But now Louis CK did an incredible job of transferring his videos, making them accessible on his website and selling millions of copies of his online show. So I kind of question whether or not the conversion is just a matter of poor marketing on Jenna’s behalf.

Danny: Yeah. That’s a fair point because the videos that all seem to be online are Kickstarter videos. The Kickstarter campaigns that have videos do much better than the ones that don’t. And those with a very high call to action tend to have high conversions. So your point is a fair point.

Jonathan: If we’re going to talk about crowdfunding, the most amazing thing that has happened in all crowdfunding is this professional level of video being produced now for some of these Kickstarter or crowdfunding campaigns. When they first came out, I did one for my book. And it was me sitting in front of the camera and saying, Hey, I want to do this and I want this produced and blah-blah-blah. Now we’re going to do one for the animal rescue that I’m involved with, the volunteer work that I do, and we know that it has to be HD and it has to have music and there has to be a whole storyline put in there. We’ll have to have photos and charts. It’s really quite incredible how there’s now an industry for videographers to produce crowd funding campaigns.

Danny: Right. We went through this exact same transformation with written content. It used to be that you could just put out any old blog post. It could potentially do well on websites like Digg. I think that’s where it used to come from. But now you have to have media on your blog post. It’s no longer just a minimum requirement to have images. It’s also really helpful to have video and infographics and these other things with very rich media. We saw it with text and we’re now seeing it with video. I guess I’m not surprised, but it’s just happened faster this time.

Jonathan: And it’s much more consumable, right?

Danny: Right.

Jonathan: Let’s go back to this whole conversion and engagement conversation. It’s very interesting when you look at somebody who says to themselves ‘I’m going to create a video every Friday. I’m going to put it on YouTube.” You were talking about Jenna Marbles. I follow J Merridew. These are people who really dedicate themselves to producing something on Friday. It’s going to go up. They do it as professionals. Now in the background, when you become interested in that individual and you do research, you find out subsequently that they have a book or they have a video or they have a T-shirt. So it’s very secondary to the way that engagement would be seen when we’re talking about a website. Because the fact that you went to that website means that you want to engage in that content and on the side you get information about what the company is all about. But this is sometimes subtler and sometimes more in your face, depending on the client’s needs. You could run almost like a TV promotional ad. Or you could have something like a podcast or a videocast that then shows the quality of the client that is trying to gain the customer. Right?

Danny: Yep.

Jonathan: But is there a perfect method to build the video? Or probably we just don’t have enough information yet to say, okay, this format works. For you, your client is going to talk for 5 minutes and he’s going to move you through the point to get you to download an e-book or something like that. Right?

Danny: Yeah. We’re still looking for this elusive formula. I think we’ve found some things that help so that the points that I mentioned earlier with different metadata and with watch time, that gives you things that we’re aiming for. And there are little tricks you can do to increase watch time. The way you structure the video and the story arch itself. All these things affect that. But we have not yet found the perfect formula as to exactly how video should be done.

Jonathan: Somebody will figure it out, get great results, write an e-book about it and we’ll all be following that directive.

Danny: That’s exactly right. It may end up being one of these cases where you look for the perfect format for a blog post and it turns out that the perfect format keeps developing.

Jonathan: Well, to an extent. It used to be that you could write 200 words and put that up as blog post and that doesn’t work anymore. So doing a 30-second video probably doesn’t work either, right?

Danny: Yes. I think that’s right.

LifeListed.com

Jonathan: Let’s talk a little bit about LifeListed. This has really been something that I’ve taken to heart. I’ve watched you grow and do this project over the least three years. Is that right?

Danny: Yes. I think that’s right.

Jonathan: You’ve gone all over the world. You’ve been on television. You’ve done a Ted Talks. You have LifeListed.com. You talk about some really personal things that have gone on in your life. You right now are introducing monthly Life Lists that are fun, free and in your neighborhood. This is your article for this week and you talk about very simple things that you can do to simplify your life and make your life easier.

Danny: Yeah. Let me give a little more context on the project itself and then I can talk specifically about that blog post. LifeListed.com is a project that I’ve been working on for about three years now. It started when I was going through a point in my life when I was dealing with depression and I started asking myself some harder and bigger questions, mainly what am I doing here? What is the purpose of my life? After interviewing and chatting with a bunch of people who I really respected, what I ultimately decided to do was just arbitrarily choose what I wanted as the purpose of my life. So I made a list of about 150 things that I wanted to do and I gave myself a deadline. I gave myself a deadline of May 25, 2017. I’ve been working on that near full-time ever since. Now when I wake up every morning I know exactly what I’m going to be working on. I’m going to be working on trying to check these items off and move forward. Doing the bucket list itself is really great, but the big benefit and what I like about it more is that it puts me into ridiculous situations that I never would have otherwise been able to be in. And I’m meeting people that I’d never have been able to meet and gaining skills that I never would have been able to gain otherwise. So it’s a gray area in between and it’s given me a new purpose in my life. I think that’s the biggest benefit.

Jonathan: And along the way, you’ve written about your experiences, particularly – and I hope you can speak about this – the Singapore post.

Danny: Oh yea.

Jonathan: You successfully offended an entire nation.

Danny: I did, by accident. A little context for the post: I lived in Singapore for about two months and I wrote about my experience after I left. The short version of this article is that Singapore has accomplished a lot in its very short history, but I’m concerned about the people I met when I was there and these emerging trends that I’m seeing. Suicide is increasing at an alarming rate in Singapore. People are blaming it on the stress of academics. A lot of people are young and committing suicide. And they’re blaming this on how stressful school is there. I was also discouraged by the lack of art and creativity that is celebrated in the society there. So while it was a very efficient country, it was very sterile. That made me choose not to want to return to Singapore. I wrote a post about this and it ended up going viral on Facebook. The equivalent of I believe 10% of the entire country read this article. And as I’ve been traveling around the world since then, I keep running into people who have read this article. I’ll mention Singapore and someone will say, oh, I read this article about it. So that’s been really nice.

Jonathan: Ignore that sound. It’s just the timer.

Danny: Okay. So that’s just one example of doing the storytelling, sharing the experiences and really being able to make the impact based on that. In this case, more people read and saw it than I’ll probably ever meet in my lifetime, which is really exciting for me and it’s also really interesting to be part of that conversation. I think that article at least played a part in jump starting that and I hope we’re making a difference over there in Singapore.

Jonathan: It was interesting because in perspective, reading the article, if you were writing that and you changed the word “Singapore” to “America,” I might question where you were and what you saw. But I wouldn’t take offense. Obviously, Americans are critical of ourselves just as much as the world is critical of us. But I don’t think we would take as much offense to it, which almost speaks to the culture there that they really don’t want to be represented in a poor light in what would be seen by us maybe as a mild criticism of their country.

Danny: Exactly. I think we just ran into a big cultural difference there. I think they’re very proud of where they’re from and I think they express that in a different way that we as Americans do.

Jonathan: Tell me about this new project that you’re talking about today in the month of March.

Danny: Sure. This is a little project on our website. When I’ve been talking to you about LifeList, mine is very structured and I’m very disciplined about it. I have this tattooed on me and this is what I really focus on every single day. Now that’s not something that most people can do. I have the liberty of working completely online so that allows me to travel and to get an income while I’m abroad. But most people can’t do that, so I’m trying to make this a little bit more bite-sized. I started introducing this first one in March. The bucket lists are free so you can do it wherever you live. They’re generally more bite-sized than the bigger ones that I’ve been working on. In this way, you can start to make improvements in your life. You can start to build momentum on your goals without having to dive in almost head first all at once and get tattooed.

Jonathan: Okay. Let me get back to that in a second. I’ve got tattoos also. Are you saying you have this list tattooed on you? Or you have that date tattooed on you?

Danny: Let me explain that. It is the date. If I had the list, it would be a large tattoo and it would be a pain because I’d have to get a new tattoo every time I checked something off. So no. It’s the date.

Jonathan: So it would be like Momento.

Danny: That’s right.

Jonathan: I don’t want to psychoanalyze you, but let me ask. You have this critical date for 2017. You said that you’ve done about 85% of the 150 items on the list. What happens on that date when you’ve accomplished everything?

Danny: I love this question. I get asked it fairly often. So what happens next? On the date itself, I’m going to throw a big party because I want to celebrate all the people who have been part of this adventure with me. The plan is that every month I’ve been saving up money, so I’m just going to throw as big a party as I possibly can on that date. It will be a celebration for everybody who has supported me and been part of this adventure.

Jonathan: Wow.

Danny: Yeah. And you’re one of those people. So in 2017, try to keep that open.

Jonathan: I will save the date.

Danny: Excellent. So what about after that? I want to write a book about the experience. It is a goal of mine to take the spotlight off of me and I want to start putting the spotlight on others. I want to start enabling others to be able to do this. So I want to write a book that will be an instruction manual on how to structure your lifestyle like this. Then after the book, I want to do a TV show. I’d like to do a TV show where I am again helping other people do their own bucket list items or helping people travel.

Jonathan: Wow. That’s fantastic. I would hope – and this is my personal hope – that somewhere in that book you detail that critical time in your life that you were having an issue with depression. You’ve already on the website been very, very open about the fact that you have depression or that you had suffered depression during that time. I mean, I know you. We met physically briefly and we’ve talked over the years. And you don’t come across as somebody who is moping around or is upset.

Danny: Actually, I think I made a mistake. Two blog posts ago, I wrote a major story about my experience with depression and I made a mistake there in not making it clear that this is something I think I’ve recovered from. It has not been a part of my life, I believe, even when I met you originally. I was no longer suffering from depression at that time. And today I’m no longer suffering from depression. So this is not a part of my life now, but it was certainly the catalyst for this big project.

Jonathan: Well, that’s awesome. That’s great.

Four for Friday: Questions Everyone is Asked

Jonathan: Now we have what I call Four for Friday. These are four questions. We’ve had a great experience with this. I don’t know if you’ve seen the show before, but we’ve had this great experience with people even who have seen the show. They kind of forget about these four questions and when they’re asked them, they get stumped. So what is your idea of perfect Internet happiness?

Danny: Good question. First of all, I would like to have perfect Internet access globally. Right now, I am unhappy when I do not have access to the Internet. On top of that, I would like the information traveling on the Internet to be treated equally and to be able to travel over borders. So there’s a big net neutrality conversation to get into there. But I think the biggest benefit we have with the Internet is it sets information free. And I would like to see that upheld and expanded upon.

Jonathan: There are two companies right now that are trying to do satellite Internet that would break down all the walls everywhere. What do you think about that?

Danny: Yeah. There’s a few people tackling that. Google is also doing this with weather balloons. I think that is fantastic and I think those projects are essential to the development of the Internet and also to the development of the human race from an Internet perspective. So I think it’s a great project.

Jonathan: What is your greatest Internet regret?

Danny: Good question. I don’t know if I have any major ones. I’ written two blog posts that I’ve taken down. One was on the math where I was trying to prove a hypothesis of mine. I gathered a bunch of data and different analysis and posted it. And I realized my math was completely wrong. In fact, if I’d done it correctly, my math would have proved the opposite of what I was trying to do. So that was certainly a regret. I did not fact-check enough. Then I also did a blog post on my own blog. I was too open. That’s what I learned from it. It was too sexually flippant. And I ended up taking that one down as well. The first one was just not fact-checking. And the second was just being too open in a public forum. Those are my two big Internet regrets.

Jonathan: That’s really interesting. Just those two topics are really very interesting. The whole idea of putting information out there. We all know of one specific news channel that likes to put information out there without any fact-checking whatsoever. But this whole idea of you’re on the Internet and we have these Internet memes that if not correct, could really lead to significant problems. And then for the other side, this idea of who we are as individuals can’t really be fully represented in a public forum like the Internet.

Danny: That’s right. My persona online is more like a shadow of who I really am. It outlines me and it certainly is a reflection of who I am or part of who I am, but it’s not who I am.

Jonathan: That’s brilliant. That’s a great quote. Fantastic. What do you consider your greatest Internet achievement?

Danny: At this point, I think it’s been the amount of people that I’ve been able to help through this passion project of mine. I’m happy in that I get to have a lot of conversations, mostly online, with people who have started their own lists as a result of this or who have gone out and helped other people who are dealing with depression. I know it was a difficult process in my life and I’m happy to be able to give back or at least try to help. And I’ve been pretty successful with that, with helping people overcome their own issues.

Jonathan: That’s awesome. What is your favorite Internet book? We have to exclude my book and your book.

Danny: Oh, darn.

Jonathan: We can’t do any self-promotion here with this question.

Danny: Favorite Internet book? My first thought is just my Kindle. It’s literally an Internet book where I have access to any books because I have access to the Internet.

Jonathan: What are you reading now?

Danny: I’m reading a book called “Story.” I forget the name of the author. But it’s by a filmmaker in Hollywood who does deep analysis on what it means to make a story and to structure a story properly.

NOTE: The book Danny was talking about was – Story: Substance, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by author Robert McKee

Jonathan: You also told me about another book. I can’t remember what it was called but it’s a very simple book about writing. But it really has nothing to do with writing.

Danny: There is a book called “Bird by Bird.”

Jonathan: Yes. That’s it. “Bird by Bird.”

Danny: The author is indirectly talking about writing the entire time. But I found it really inspiring and really funny. It was one of those books where I laughed out loud as I’m reading through it.

Jonathan: You gave that to me. When I was writing the book, you said it’s really inspirational.

Danny: Yeah. You’ll notice when you’re writing your book as well that you’ll run into a lot of writer’s block. And this author was admitting that she as a successful author also runs into writer’s block and the methods she uses for overcoming it. And sometimes just accepting it.

Jonathan: Excellent. Danny you are to me a great inspiration personally and professionally. I really appreciate the fact that you took time to do this. I’m glad that the Chicago Internet stayed up. We did have a problem about a half hour ago, but everything is good now. We were able to make it through the podcast. Thanks so much for being here, Danny.

Outro

Again, this is Jonathan Goodman with the World of Internet Marketing. You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs. Thank you all for listening to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon, and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great week.

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